One of the few things in life we can control is our choices.
As the mother of a teenage son the one thing I keep pounding into him, (and pounding is necessary, he’s 14!), is that the rest of his life will be affected by the choices he makes now.
So, how do you know that a choice is the right one?
Sometimes it doesn’t really matter which choice you make, either way you go the outcome isn’t going to really affect you. These are the kinds of choices we make all day long: Do I get a cup of coffee now or later? Do I clean that counter first? Do I launder the whites first or the darks? These are all choices but they’re like “who cares” kinds of choices. The fact is that the outcome will be essentially the same regardless of the choice we make.
Of course, there are the big choices. What career do I choose? Who do I marry? Which college is the best for me? Heck, in today’s economy an important choice can be whether or not it’s worth it to drive a couple of miles to save .25 on a grocery item.
The fact is that the big choices matter because they are game changers. Choosing a career path can affect everything in your life from what you wear to where you live. Marriage is a huge choice and one that cannot be made lightly as it affects not only you and your partner but any children you may have.
We have all made bad choices, some big, some small, and all of those choices have cost us something whether it be financial or emotional. We pay for bad choices.
So, how do you know if a choice is the right one or the wrong one?
I’m a firm believer in what I like to call “niggling,” that small voice in your head that keeps telling you “don’t do that” or “this is what you need to do.” Some of us are better at recognizing that voice than others, and I think all of us know someone who seems to have no “small voice recognition” at all.
If a choice doesn’t feel right, if you don’t feel at peace about it, or if for some reason you keep changing your mind, then you aren’t ready to make that decision.
Frankly, I think any major decision should not be made without prayer. I often use the term “pray on it” and for me it’s a way to have a dialogue with God about what my decision should be. I’ve discovered that many times while I’m in “pray on it” mode that my choice is made for me, things fall into place the way the Lord wants them to and I end up not having to make the decision at all.
My father had a strategy that he called letting things play out. Oftentimes he wouldn’t be in a position to make a decision due to lack of information so he would just pull back and see what happened. Essentially he’d put it in God’s hands and see what cards he would be dealt. His patience in waiting for God to act resulted in a good decision, often contrary to the one he would have made if he’d acted quickly on his own.
Of course the biggest choice anyone makes is to choose to accept Jesus as their personal savior. Many may not realize that in doing so they’ve accepted the best decision maker into their lives. God knows where he wants you to be and what he wants you to do, if you go to him for help in making choices you are accepting his will. Those forks in the road are a lot less scary when God is standing behind you, whispering “This is the way, walk in it.”
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.